What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

When The Seattle Times headlined a front-page story (Aug 17, 2018) about the fee per hour for #coaching the CEO of Sound Transit, it was curious that the hourly rate ($550) of the coach earned the headliner status rather than the reasons why coaching was requested in the first place.  (And despite all the litigations plentiful in this country, we have yet to see a front-page headline about the hourly rate of the top lawyers.)

A much more interesting figure would have been a calculation of the cost of doing nothing about a “brash”, “aggressive” or even abusive leader. Or the cost of lost productivity because of employees dealing with sexism and interactions laced with profane language.  Or, what if, instead of hiring a #coach, the CEO had spent about $10,000 and bought all his Continue reading What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

If culture eats strategy for breakfast – what’s for dinner?

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to participate and present at the annual conference of the Worldwide Airline Customer Relations Association (WACRA) in Helsinki, Finland. WACRA has been convening for seventy years – with the exception of 2001 when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. While #WACRA16 was hosted by Finnair, the audience consisted of customer relations and service leaders from almost thirty airlines around the world; Delta, Southwest, Virgin breakfast on FinnairAmerica, Bangkok, Emirates, Qatar, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, just to name a few.

Continue reading If culture eats strategy for breakfast – what’s for dinner?

Adaptability, Creativity, and Diversity — Winning the Innovation Game

“Innovation! We need more innovation!”

I hear this call for innovation not only in my conversations with leaders in big corporations with R&D units, but in companies of all sizes, and even in established institutions like universities. People feel the pressure to produce like startups, constantly creating something new and launching it with a “bang.” Expand! Go global! The constant demand for ‘more and faster’ drives companies to seriously search ways how they can accelerate innovation. IMG_1056

As a humanist, I believe that the innovativeness of an organization is a result of the creativity, diversity of thought and adaptability of the people who work there. It’s the leader’s job to create a culture in which these three key elements of innovativeness are encouraged, expressed and exhibited both at a Continue reading Adaptability, Creativity, and Diversity — Winning the Innovation Game

Is Culture of Innovation De-humanizing?

The last Sunday’s New York Times article describing the almost inhuman culture at Amazon created a firestorm of debate about what is going on in companies behind their doors. It has raised questions about how innovation is created and facilitated through leadership, talent and the working environments. Some wonder whether innovation thrives only in highly competitive and even callous environments. CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos was quick to react to the allegations of the de-humanizing culture there by stating that the company described was not the Amazon he knows. In the times of “talent wars” for the best and the brightest in software and big data engineers, the reputation Computer and phoneof a company is the key attractor of employees. This is why employer review companies like Glassdoor are blossoming and stories like the one by the NY Times can be devastating. Continue reading Is Culture of Innovation De-humanizing?

Treasure hunting gems of leading innovation

I‘m the first to admit that I don’t know much about anything but I know quite a few incredible people who do! And that is what makes my life interesting and exciting.

Realizing that I’m surrounded with leaders who are doing amazing things in the world I decided to begin a treasure hunt for gems of wisdom regarding innovation and leadership from their point of view.

Leadership and innovation are broad concepts, meaning different things depending on the industry and organization. Therefore, they are also very rich for research and insights. In order to capture stories about extraordinary experiences, I’ve been interviewing CEO’s and Executives representing many different sectors because innovation happens everywhere and in many forms.Work-together

This is my effort to explore, chart and share how innovation is being defined by CEOs, and what leaders consider as the crucial human elements to stay innovative in the rapidly changing world. In other words, my interest is in exploring the human side of innovation.  The gems I will share here will be a convergence of quotes and perspectives from Continue reading Treasure hunting gems of leading innovation

Thank you, Satya Nadella! Leadership Lessons from CEO of Microsoft and Pope Francis

Last October, when the Karma-gate exploded at the annual Grace Hopper conference, it was a true blessing for women in corporations everywhere! It was as if two world-class leaders who are passionate about making a difference and leaving a legacy of transformational innovation had staged a cosmic theater play for shifting the consciousness of corporate leaders everywhere.

President of Harvey-Mudd College, Maria Klawe is also one of the two women on board of Microsoft Corporation. This gives her unique access and powers to talk to important leaders like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who agreed to satya nadella and maria klawe at grace hopper oct 2014 Continue reading Thank you, Satya Nadella! Leadership Lessons from CEO of Microsoft and Pope Francis

Do Women Have a Relationship Advantage In Business?

A study by Pepperdine University shows that women leaders in top positions continue to break industry records in terms of profitability and productivity. While more women than ever are obtaining professional degrees like MBAs, we are still far from gender balance in leadership in America’s top corporations. Gender balance can be achieved when there is 40-60 percent of either gender.

Some (controversial) studies show that the ways female and male brains are wired are ideally complementary. According to this view, women are naturally wired to act, think and innovate in ways that men are not.Do Women Have a Relationship Advantage In Business

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Managing Great Leaders Into Leadership: Stepping Up From Management To Leadership

Managers are expected to lead their teams, take responsibility for fixing issues and even make sacrifices in order to create value and show “leadership”. What does it mean to show “leadership”, though? Leaders are not just managers, they manage and lead. While a manager deals with the practicalities of getting things done in the most efficient manner (or the what and the how), a leader communicates why the work must be done. Whereas managers plan and coordinate, leaders inspire and motivate.

A manager administers while a leader creates conditions for innovation; a manager focuses on systems and processes to maintain the structure of the organization while a leader focuses on developing the people in the organization. A manager often works on short-range tactics, while it’s the job of a good leader to focus on the long-range perspective in order to create sustainability and legacy. Managers are under increasing pressure to grow into leaders and be able to fulfill expectations for both their managerial and leadership duties at the same time. They are expected to continuously prove their credibility by staying current and competent – and also be visionaries who inspire by modeling the way with integrity.Managing Great Leaders Into Leadership Stepping Up From Management To Leadership

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